Wednesday, June 20, 2007


The first really good rain of the season has arrived. The first good rain brings out my favorite bug.

You may ask, why is this cute little critter my favorite bug?

It looks fuzzy. But best of all... it doesn't bite!

They vary in size, but are a pretty small bug.

In a few days they will be gone again until next year.

I was brave and checked it out, they are soft shelled.

Aren't they just too cute!
Okay, they beat centipedes (we are getting tired of killing the babies.... but the big ones are still in hiding), scorpions, pincher bugs and spiders hands down.

Monday, June 18, 2007

It is GOOD to be back!

Today, I felt as if I was "Back in the saddle again." I woke up feeling energized, the first in a long time. Today, I wsa going to start studying Wolof again. There are so many words I have forgotten and my conversation must be like that of a two year old, okay, three year old. : )

After a quick breakfast, I doned my Gambian outfit complete with the shaw (for sunscreen). I was out the door. I had one visitor already and as I was leaving our compound my namesake stopped to ask me for bug spray. She was getting eaten alive at night and not liking it. So, I walked back to my house to get her a can of spray. Then I was off the compound! The day watchman asked me if I was really going this time.

I headed across the street to greet the man that owns the little shop. He carries a few of the basics: bread, flip-flops, tea, sugar, caned milk, caned sardines, etc. Before I returned to America, he was selling flour. But when my girlfriend left for Liberia and with me heading to America, he lost his biggest buyers of flour and really can't afford to carry it now. I will just have to get that in town. Not a big hassel.

I headed down the road to visit a friend that comes every Monday afternoon. I have yet to go to her place. She sells breakfast in the morning. I wanted to suprise her. As I was walking to town I greeted those I met along the way. I had to pass the compound of my namesake's daughter, so I stopped by to say hello. It was a good time of conversation. Her daughter in law's baby died last rainy season and the daughter in law was in the hospital with an illness two months ago. We had much to talk about.
Promising to return some day soo, I was on my way to find my friend. She told me she sold under the Mango tree by the machine. Well, I found the machine and the two mango trees near it... but not my friend. I headed down the street and came across another woman I know. After talking with her for some time, I asked about my friend. Yes, she sells under the tree by the machine. I passed by the road again, no one was under the trees. So, I went to see my language supervisor about meeting my language helper (tutor).
On my way to the office, I passed three women doing their laundry under a tree. There was a nice breeze and they were shaded, it is hot, hard work. They asked me for the fixings for the tea they drink here. I didn't have any with me and asked to be forgiven until another day.
Joanne was able to take me to the next village to meet with a woman who works with the literacy staff and could possibly tutor me. I was so glad to get in the car - air conditioning! Joanne wanted to make a stop at the library on our way out of town. She turned a block early, for a minute I was confused as to which village she was taking me. When I guestioned her, she laughed, she was just going around the block so she could talk to her employee and not have to pull the car in or turn around. (There is not a lot of traffic out here.) Then we were off.
Njuffen is a nice small village. I should have a great time. It is about 1.5 miles from here. A nice walk in the AM and it will be a hot return. I have to add a big umbrella to my shopping list.
I returned home to shower, lunch and nap in that order. I had visitors at my door by four. They left around eight. Then the four of us gals got chatting outside. I came in around 9:45. Had dinner and now, I have a bit more language stuff to do before I can head to Njuffen in the morning. Oh, there is lots to do.
Most embarassing part of the day occured as I was saying good bye to my last Gambian guest this evening. We had been sitting at the gate to our compound and when I stood up my wrap around skirt, slipped. Praise the Lord my top came to my knees and I knew what was happening. That could have been a VERY embarassing moment.
Have a great one.
Ma ngee janga Olof.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It is Raining!

Yes, the first significant rain of the season has just started. It isn't pouring, just a nice gentle rain. The smell of sand/dirt is in the air, the temperature is a little cooler than it has been. There is the faint sound of thunder in the distance. I am not sure how long this rain will last, but it has been a good 10 minutes so far. PTL. The men will be headed out to the field to plant the peanuts. I was told by a friend that I was goin to be going to the field with her to help hoe when the time comes. Sounds like hot work to me.

By the way, the refrigerator is working! Thank you Lord.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Rains are Coming!

Yea, the rains are coming. Why is it that I know they are on their way? Well, in The Gambia we only see rain June- October. It rains very little in June, a little more in July. There is a pretty good rainfall in August, decreasing into September and then comes October when it is hot, humid and we pray for rain to bring relief, but it doesn’t usually come.
I was doing my devotions today and I was reading about how nature gives Glory to God. I was asked to think about my favorite thing in nature that gives glory to God or reveals His power. I immediately thought of the Flame Tree. I don’t know its scientific name. But it is a tree that has a fern type leaf. After months of no rain or water, just before the rains come, beautiful bright red flowers spring forth. I had a huge one in my back yard when I moved to The Gambia. Termites killed the tree and now, in its place is a two year old little tree. I wondered and wondered if it would flower. The other day I was blessed to see the power of God as two little blooms came out.
There are other signs that the rains are coming. The humidity is something. I sit here at my computer in the middle of the day and the sweat drips off my elbows. It is rather disgusting. I have learned to keep a hand towel near by when writing. Computers with speakers near where you rest your hands have been known to rust.
Another sign of incoming rain is the increase in bugs. Yup, insects. I was watching a DVD last night. I had no other lights on, just the laptop screen. When all of a sudden I was dive bombed by a beetle. When I was growing up in New York, we had these beetles we called June bugs. I am not sure if they are more prevalent in June or not but picture a June bug on steroids. They are bigger here. I took great pleasure in killing June bug 1 and 2. I hate to be dive bombed. There you are sitting in the dark and WHACK! You jump up thinking “who did that?” Then you realize you are alone. Not a good thing; but if it could be witnessed, kind of funny.
This is the beginning of the increase of Mosquitoes. They are also not my friends, mainly because they like to bite me too much. It is hard to get even with a mosquito. In the states you hear them coming, but not the ones that carry Malaria. They don’t have the decency to buzz. No warnings, you just start itching. Bednets, bug spray, and avoiding being outside at dusk and dawn are good precautions.
Another subtle evidence of coming rain is the change of the night song. I go to bed each night listening to the crickets, bats, occasional donkey, hyena, or jackal. Soon the sound of frogs will be added. It reminds me of the plagues in the Old Testament. Frogs are everywhere. I watched a cat the first year I was here. I left his water and food bowl outside, no need to encourage rodents to visit my house. Well, each morning I would have to poor the frogs out of the water dish. How many frogs can an old enamel coffee mug hold. I think 7 was my highest count. UGH!

Last night, I was given the opportunity to put on my maintenance hat. Joanne's refrigerator has been giving her some grief. The freezer is doing its job, but the refrigerator section hasn't been cooling. It ran out of gas yesturday, so Joanne changed the gad bottle, changed the regulator and discovered a new problem. It wouldn't light. So, she aske if I could come over and change the thermal coupling. I was able to figure that out. (Impressive I know, but it would be even better if I knew how it all worked.) But the refrigerator still won't stay lit. So if you have any ideas on how to fix this problem. Let me know.

This week I will be wearing the electrician hat as I have to change out the 1500 watt inverter in my place. I have been given email guidelines, that include advice such as "do not let those two cables touch or Boom! My batteries will be fried. I am not sure what day I plan to have this fun. I am plannign on doing some touch up painting and a lot more visiting. I will also be getting organized for my return to language study. Saturday I will head to Banjul, time for more supplies already. It would be a great trip if it wasn't for the ferry.

Thanks for praying.

Here are a few pics for you.....

Passing a ferry while on a ferry.

Much of my afternoons are spenting visting with friends from the village.

Monday, June 4, 2007

I am settled! I have unpacked the last box, bag, suitcase, etc. I thought I would let you get a glimpse of my new floor. It is so beautiful. A big thank you to TED, and the guys. I do love it. Especially now that I can see it.

I am having a bit of trouble with my electricity and my computer still likes to crash when it likes. So this will be short today.

I had a great day on Saturday. I went to the Luuma, market, in town. I had a good time greeting everyone and catching up on events in the village. People were so glad to see me back but not thrilled to hear that I am going to take a few (13) weeks to work on refreshing and improving my Wolof. Please continue to pray for the clinic ministry and it's testimony to the villages it serves.

After the Luuma, I took 13 kids to the shore. I had to turn about 8 away. I can't watch that many. It was an experience. The kids (2-19 in age) had a great time in the van, calling out to those they knew along the way. It is a 15 mile drive that takes about 25 minutes. But when I arrived at the shore I was approached by a soldier. He questioned me on what was I doing there and hadn't I heard that he was there. That people were there now. It was a wierd conversation and looking back on it last night, I came to this conclusion. In January, the military took over a landmark fort left by the Portuegese in the 1400s. They are now using it as a barracks and my favorite shore spot is too close to the fort. I may need to find a new place.

The ride home was full of teasing. I was pulled over at a check point simply because the immigration officer was from our village and he wanted to tease the gals. I then picked up some passengers headed to our village and became a local taxi. I had 20 people and all manner of baggage (no animals though). I even made stops on the way. At my first stop I not only dropped off a passenger, I picked one up. It was a little snug but such fun. The best thing... no tire blow outs! Praise the Lord.

Have a great one, more later.